Don’t be afraid

Don’t let the title of this post mislead you. This isn’t going to be one of those ‘love-conquers-all’, spiritually uplifting posts about chasing your dreams. You should be chasing your dreams though – I’m just not the guy to write about them.

No, this is about being afraid in marketing and communications. Afraid is too strong … maybe it’s about being gun-shy.

Years ago I read a book that made an excellent case against beta-testing and focus groups. That was a foundational idea for me, and is one that I’m still drawn to.

The interpretation goes like this: If you introduce an idea to a focus group or you beta-test it, you will invariably find yourself moving to appeal to the lowest common denominator. Your message will become watered down and you risk being swept away in the current of sameness. You risk becoming homogenous.

If you and your team hit upon a great idea that you’re excited about, why not run with it? Don’t test it – rather, let the public be your testing ground. Deal with the comments, criticisms and successes in real-time.

Does that sound scary? It is.

But here’s the thing – if you can stand confidently behind the work you do, the naysayers that we all worry about will become inconsequential. You’ll be able to stand confidently behind the idea if it’s the idea that your team gave birth to. Your fans will have your back.

And remember, we live in an oversaturated media market. Anything you put out will be forgotten in 5 minutes anyways and costs literally nothing to put out in the wild. All media is disposable and moving at light speed.

So why the hell not just have fun and get it out there? If it doesn’t work, oh well. Come up with something else and put that out. If you do that enough times, I promise you’ll have fun and will hit on a lot good ideas.